Stress is an inevitable part of life. Seven out of ten adults in the United States say they experience stress or anxiety daily, and most say it interferes at least moderately with their lives,
according to the Australian Psychological Society, 35 per cent of Australian’s report having a significant level of distress in their lives and majority of the respondents noted ‘financial problems’ as the main source of their stress.
It’s impossible to eliminate, but you can learn to manage stress, and most people usually do. ASP also reports that there are numerous activities an ordinary person relieve stress: watching television/ movies (85 percent), spending time with friends and/ or family (81 percent), listening to music (80 percent) and reading (75 percent). But did you know that one of the best ways you can shake off stress is by exercising?
Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, to dance and Zumba, can act as a stress reliever. You don’t need to be a professional athlete or have a regular schedule for hardcore training to eliminate stress through moving. A little bit of exercise can go a long way toward stress management.
It’s important to choose an activity you enjoy that fits easily into your lifestyle, not one that creates more stress. Research suggests that both aerobic activity (exercise that significantly raises your heart rate, such as jogging cycling and swimming) and resistance exercises (such as weight training or Pilates) may be helpful for depression. No matter what activity you choose or what intensity you exercise at, every little bit can be beneficial to help improve your mental and physical health.
So what is the connection of stress management and exercise?
Tracing back our history and philosophy, noted poet Alexander Pope has been quoted saying “Strength of mind is exercise, not rest.” Philosopher Plato agreed: “Exercise would cure a guilty conscience.” You’ll think so, too — if you learn to apply the physical stress of exercise in a controlled, graded fashion.
For most adults, the Department of Health recommends getting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (such as brisk walking or swimming) or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running). You also can do a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.
A study commissioned by the Harvard Men’s Health Watch has strengthened the link and benefits we get from exercise when it comes to stress relief. As published in their February 2011 issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch, Regular aerobic exercise can bring remarkable changes not just to your body, your metabolism, and your heart, but also to your spirits and overall outlook in life.
Exercise has a unique ability to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress. In a nutshell, exercise is proven to help our body reduce stress, anxiety, and help fight depression.
It all boils down to science. The benefits of stress to stress relief can be explained by science—specifically in the neurochemical process of our body.
- Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.
- Working out also stimulates the natural production of endorphins, which are the chemicals in the brain responsible for mood elevation and pain management. They are our natural painkillers.
Also, exercise improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.
- Helps improve sleep. Lack of sleep has been found to contribute to stress and may also increase the risk of depression.
- Helps Increase your energy levels.The more energy you have, the more you can feel better doing the things you love and find a way of de-stressing.
All in all, some may view working out as a physical work, an additional strain on the body which may cause one to be feel more tired and exhausted. But, science backs it up: exercising, in fact, makes you feel relaxed, calm and rejuvenated after all the stress you’ve experienced or still experiencing.
Aside from being beneficial to your overall wellness and maintaining a healthy physique, exercise also keeps your mental health fit. In a time when we are consumed by stressful factors such as work, finances and endless to-do lists, including a short workout routine in your ‘me time’ could do good for you more than you can imagine.